Radio – By @katiebcreates

By Katie Burrell




We had a brilliant talk yesterday from Clare Milner of Radio Centre. She spoke about the power of sound and really opened our eyes to how limitless radio ads can be. It’s exciting to think about crafting something using the medium of radio, if you get it right you have the potential to completely absorb listeners into a world of your creation. 

It made me wonder why we often forget about it as a device for executing our ideas. Clare’s talk certainly inspired me to get writing and it really made me want to delve into sound and it’s capabilities. How can sound affect us? How can it move us? 

Her talk reminded me of the radio classes we used to do when I was studying acting and how much fun they used to be. We had to learn all about how to use the mic properly, the distance at which to speak into it, eradicating habits that we didn’t know we had like lip-smacking (sounds odd, I know, but it’s just that squishy noise people make sometimes when they talk) loud breathing, loud swallowing etc etc. We explored reading extracts from stories, poems, monologues. We practiced duologues as well as bigger scenes with more people and experimented using objects to create soundscapes to go with them. 

Listening to what you’ve recorded is a strange experience, a kind of out of body thing. I guess when you hear yourself speaking everyday you feel like you sound a certain way but in reality it’s quite different. Having to then analyse your voice and pick up on the tiny little intricacies that end up sounding wrong on tape is quite funny, especially when some of these details are so minuscule. It’s difficult to be in character whilst simultaneously making sure that you’re not sounding your P’s too hard. Splashy T’s, that was another one. 

A few of us were successful in auditioning to take part in the BBC Carleton Hobbs Bursary Competition. Hobbs was a renowned radio actor and the bursary was created in his honour. The competition is all about looking for distinctive, versatile radio voices to form a nucleus of new talent within the autumn season’s Radio Drama Company. I was lucky enough to compete and got far enough into the competition that I was able to go to the BBC radio studios and record there. It was brilliant. 

Thank you Clare for sparking this reflection about radio and my brief affair with it ten years ago. It’s interesting to be on the other side of the mic and to think about how I can use and experiment with this medium in the advertising world. More and more, I’m discovering that things I’ve done in the past, my interests and other moments that have shaped me as a person, are all meshing and mixing and swirling about like one big pool of stuff that I can dip into and use on my SCA journey. It’s satisfying to feel it all piecing together. 

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